On Tuesday, a press conference was held that revealed a new ballpark plan for the Rays that keeps them in St. Petersburg.
The new ballpark will be a part of St. Pete's effort to transform its Historic Gas Plant District into an entertainment area for people in and around the Tampa Bay region. The ballpark itself will hold right around 30,000 people.
When it comes to cost, the MLB said that the entire transformation of the Gas District will be around $6 billion. The ballpark by itself will cost about $1.3 billion. The entirety of the plan is said to be done around the year 2028 with the Rays still playing in Tropicana Field through 2027, which is when their lease ends.
The construction of the new park is expected to begin in late 2024.
The Gas Plant District will have other amenities for the St. Pete community as well on the site. There are plans for new amenities in the area too including an African-American history museum as well as new housing for residents, which has been a need in St. Pete for decades.
The move brings relief for local fans of the Tampa Bay Rays as this puts an end to talk of relocation out of the area. There are options for the organization to sublease the ballpark for 30-40 years, per Major League Baseball's press release.
The entire process was a long process for the Rays, who have struggled with attendance numbers for the majority of their existence. Even this season, they currently rank 27th in the league as a 90-win postseason team.
The new park and area should reinvigorate some excitement about the Rays and should pull in more crowds with the state-of-the-art stadium. Baseball will be staying in Tampa Bay with this new upgrade.